Chapter 12: Buddha in the Supermarket
Self-consciousness is human. If you fall from consciousness you will have a certain forgetfulness of anxiety. If you rise from the self you will not only have a forgetfulness of anxiety; anxieties simply evaporate, they no longer exist.
You can become buddhas. You have the capacity, the potential, to become a buddha. The birds are poor. But man has fallen so low that he even starts feeling jealous of poor birds.
You ask, “What is the secret of this that seems so hard for human beings?” The secret is consciousness. Consciousness brings freedom. Freedom does not mean only the freedom to do right; if that was the meaning of freedom, what kind of freedom would it be? If you are only free to do right, then you are not free. Freedom implies both the alternatives - to do right, to do wrong. Freedom implies the right to say yes or to say no.
And this is something subtle to be understood. Saying no feels more of a freedom than saying yes. And I am not philosophizing, it is a simple fact you can observe in yourself. Whenever you say no, you feel more free. Whenever you say yes, you don’t feel free, because yes means you have obeyed, yes means you have surrendered - where is the freedom? No means you are stubborn, keeping aloof; no means you have asserted yourself, no means you are ready to fight. No defines you more clearly than yes. Yes is vague, it is like a cloud. No is very solid and substantial, like a rock.
That’s why psychologists say that between seven and fourteen years of age each child starts learning to say no more and more. By saying no, he is getting out of the psychological womb of the mother. Even when there is no need to say no, he will say no. Even when to say yes is in his favor, he will say no.
There is much at stake; he has to learn to say no more and more. By the time he is fourteen, sexually mature, he will say the ultimate no to the mother; he will fall in love with a woman. That is his ultimate no to the mother, he is turning his back on the mother. He says, “I am finished with you, I have chosen my woman. I have become an individual, independent in my own right. I want to live my life, I want to do my own thing.”
And if the parents insist, “Have short hair,” he will have long hair. If the parents insist, “Have long hair,” he will have short hair. Just watch a little longer. When hippies become parents then they will see; their children will have short hair - because they will have to learn no.
If the parents insist, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” the children will start living in every kind of dirt. They will be dirty. They won’t take a bath, they won’t clean themselves, they won’t use soap. And they will find rationalizations that soap is dangerous to the skin, that it is unnatural, that no animal ever uses soap. They can find as many rationalizations as possible, but deep down all those rationalizations are just cover-ups. The real thing is, they want to say no. And of course when you want to say no, you have to find reasons.